Frank J. Delimba, 89, of Ironwood Township, Mich., passed away peacefully on Sunday, Nov. 10, 2013, in Hanover Park, with his wife of sixty-four years, Shirley, by his side.
The first son of Frank and Josephine (Wawer) Dolimba, Frank was born in Ironwood on Dec. 22, 1923, and raised in Jessieville. He attended Newport Grade School and graduated in June 1942 from Luther L. Wright High School.
After briefly working in Detroit, he was drafted into the Army in January 1943, serving as an infantryman with the Americal Division, 132nd Infantry Regiment, in the jungles of New Caledonia, Guadalcanal, Bougainville and the Philippines. Twice wounded, he was awarded the Purple Heart and nominated for the Silver Star. He left the Army of Occupation (Japan) in 1945 and returned home.
On May 4, 1949, Frank was married to Shirley Jean Wheeler of Hurley, Wis. and set up residence in Ironwood, where he worked at the Geneva Mine and served as a union officer in Steelworker's Local 1922 until the mine's closure. After working for two years with the Gogebic County Equalization Department, Frank spent the next 25 years with the Department of Labor's Mining Health and Safety Administration, where he rose through the ranks from inspector to the agency's chief of safety. In 1973, he was awarded the Medal of Valor by Interior Secretary Rogers Morton for rescuing the only two survivors of the Sunshine Mine Disaster. During the Carter Administration, he chaired the committee that wrote the existing MSHA standards protecting worker safety. At retirement in 1994, he was Acting Administrator for all of MSHA.
A lifelong hunter and fly fisherman, Frank also found time to be a Scout leader, chairman of the Young Dems, Babe Ruth Baseball coach and solid fan of all Detroit sports teams.
Following retirement, Frank and Shirley returned to Ironwood in 1994 and set up camp on Mountain View Road, where they welcomed the visits of their children, George, Kathleen, Frank and Jane, 17 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, for nearly 20 years. For the past two years, Frank and Shirley have lived with their two daughters in Hanover Park. Originally a member of St. Michael's Parish in Ironwood, Frank has been a member of Our Lady of Peace Parish since 1994.
Besides his wife Shirley, children, George (Kathy) and Frank (Maureen) Delimba, Kathleen Shook and Jane Delimba, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Frank is survived by a sister, Helen Soltys, of Chicago; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by a grandson, Kevin Delimba; two brothers, John and Steve Koszloski; and a sister, Stella Marconeri.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday, Nov. 16, at 11 a.m., preceded by visitation in the St. Joseph Family Room at 10 a.m., at Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church in Ironwood, with the Rev. Michael Hayden, celebrant.
Rite of Committal and interment will follow in Riverside Cemetery, Ironwood, where full military honors will be accorded by the Ironwood American Legion Post 5 Honor Guard.
Luncheon will be served in the parish hall immediately upon return from the cemetery.
Pallbearers will be Ed, Justin and Jordan Shook, Rich and Logan Brown and Chris Delimba.
Arrangements have been entrusted to McKevitt-Patrick Funeral Home, Inc., Ironwood, where condolences may be given online at mckevittpatrickfuneralhome.com.